DOJ balks at court order for info on illegal immigrants who avoided deportation via Obamnesty

DOJ balks at court order for info on illegal immigrants who avoided deportation via Obamnesty
Credit: Official White House photo by Pete Souza

The most transparent administration in history strikes again.

Caught issuing 2,000 work permits to illegal immigrants, U.S. Department of Justice attorneys are balking at a court order to disclose information on those who avoided deportation.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen accused government lawyers of misrepresentation after Hanen halted two executive amnesty programs: an expanded version of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

Hanen, ruling in the Southern District in Brownsville, Texas, issued an order reprimanding the Justice Department for intentionally deceiving the court in Texas v. United States, which challenges both amnesties.

The lawsuit, filed by Texas and 25 other states, opposes the Obama administration’s expansion of DACA and creation of DAPA, which together would allow roughly 4.7 million illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. with work permits.

DOJ attorneys continued to issue work permits — 2,000 of them — weeks after the court order was issued by Hanen to stop the programs until the case could be heard.

Hanen ordered sanctions against the DOJ attorneys, including a mandate to attend legal ethics courses if they appear in a court in any of the 26 plaintiff states.

“Clearly, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about or adherence to the duties of professional responsibility in the halls of the Justice Department,” the judge noted in his order.

On Monday, the DOJ fought back, saying compliance with the order would be “extraordinarily burdensome” and “could undermine public trust in [the Department of Homeland Security’s] commitment to protecting the confidential information contained in immigration files.”

DOJ said Hanen’s order “risks injury to tens of thousands of third parties who were brought to this country as children, and who are not parties to this litigation, in circumstances where the states have not identified harm that would justify such an intrusion.”

Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the stonewalling efforts by DOJ were baseless. “There is no reason to believe the judge would compromise the privacy of anyone in any way,” he said.

DOJ estimated the ethics education requirement could affect up to 3,000 attorneys and cost up to $8 million in direct expenses and lost manpower.

“[This] intrudes on core executive functions and imposes heavy administrative burdens and costs on both DOJ and [the Department of Homeland Security] that cannot be recouped,” DOJ said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the judge’s order.

“Throughout this case, the administration has struggled to provide accurate, reliable information regarding the scope of the president’s plan or even when it would be implemented,” Paxton said in a statement.

“From the start, our lawsuit has been about asserting that one person cannot unilaterally change the law, and part of that is ensuring everyone abides by the rule of law.”

Read more by Kenric Ward at Watchdog.com.

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”


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